A curious but compelling account by Count de Marenches, for 11 years (1970-81) the head of the French intelligence service,...


THE FOURTH WORLD WAR: Diplomacy and Espionage in the Age of Terrorism

A curious but compelling account by Count de Marenches, for 11 years (1970-81) the head of the French intelligence service, and Andelman, longtime Paris correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News. Though de Marenches claims that ""the Fourth World War has already begun""--a war, waged by ""small, highly deadly units of terrorists,"" that has ""the very real prospect of ending civilization, at least Western civilization, as we know it""--there's very little information here to back this claim. Equally odd is his treatment of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, for he asserts that the Russians still harbor dreams of world domination and that conservative Communists have put aside billions of dollars to continue their secret war. As a memoir, however, the book contains a good deal of sage advice and some significant revelations. Among the latter are that, after de Marenches learned that the US was about to devalue the dollar in 1971, the Central Bank of France accumulated enormous profits by quietly selling dollars and buying francs; that French Intelligence carried out more than 40 operations along the lines of the Entebbe raid during de Marenches's tenure, including the overthrow of Emperor Bokassa of the Central African Empire; that during the 1970's, against the count's advice, terrorists operating out of French territory, even targeting its European allies, were not disturbed, provided that no operations took place in France; and that de Marenches sent secret emissaries to Rome to warn the Pope of hard intelligence that the Soviet leadership had decided to kill him, a warning that was dismissed out of hand. A mixed bag, but rewarding for its insider's discussion of French intelligence operations and for its friendly look at the deficiencies of American intelligence.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 1992


Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992